Tag Archive for Tomb CryptMaster review

Review by Phil: Tomb CryptMaster by AEG

I really want to like this game.

At first glance, the mechanics do not seem overly complicated. Then, however, there appears to be a huge devil (or CryptMaster) in the details when trying to actually raid the dungeon and adjudicate game play.

The Game’s Objective:
Recruit up to 5 characters and raid a series of crypts in a tomb.

Setup Comments:
The game is not hard to setup at all. Place the inn board. Decide between the red or blue tomb board and place it. Shuffle the 6 piles of cards and place on the appropriate spot in the inn.

The filling of the tomb is an interesting little setup mechanic that gives people a little bit of insight into what’s where in a tomb and also shares the setup activity a bit so that the few minutes it takes doesn’t seem long at all.

Game Play:
There are 3 sets of colored (red, green, blue) d10 dice that are used for adjudicating combat, handling traps and/or dispelling curses. The sides of the dice are either blank or have an axe (denoting success) and the reds have the highest frequency of successes. I’d have to look at the dice again but I think the R,G,B dice were 80%, 40%, 60% respectively.
I think it’s important to note the “up to” in the “Recruit up to 5 characters” statement.

At first I wondered at this and its novelty vs. kludginess and ultimately decided that I wasn’t bothered by this as much as I thought I’d be.

IMPORTANT: In several cases, you have a better chance at surviving in the dungeon by taking a beefy fighter with a few items and going it alone. The problem is, you don’t necessarily know this ahead of time UNLESS you happened to place that trap or monster or curse.

Note: In this game’s case, “beefy” means a fighter with a whopping (wait for it) FIVE (5) hit points.

Most, if not all, of the monsters have more than that. Most of the monsters get an outrageous number of dice.

In no particular order:

  • Monster vs. character hit points
  • There’s no good way to stack a party to play & survive the crypts. The randomness is such that if you’ve got the wrong make-up, you should just leave after the first guy hero dies. Though, to be fair, I think I did read a warning to be prepared to have your characters die, a lot. And that they did.
  • The risk/reward ratio seems off.
  • There are some monsters, not even the champion monsters, that seem outrageously overpowered.

I’ve wanted to play this game again before giving it a rating. This review has been sitting for a couple of months now… but I haven’t been able to get anyone to play because Josh keeps warning people away from it. Burn him!

Ultimately my rating for this game is: Playable (with Fixes)

Though… I don’t know what fixes would/should be employed. I reserve the right to amend this review should it be played again.

My Rating Scale

  • Awesome: It’s fun, playable, has great art and few, if any, minor issues
  • Very Good: Just like awesome, only it either lacks something or there’s some issue that makes the game just a little less than awesome.
  • Playable (As Is): Fun, playable with decent art/mechanics with minor issues and at most 1 easily remedied major issues.
  • Playable (with Fixes): Potential for fun, but flawed; the game requires fixing before playing again.
  • OK: Not great fun, but it kills time. It might even be playable but most would ask why.
  • Seriously Flawed: The game is so flawed I am beside myself with how it got published at all. It is also nigh impossible to fix (or just requires way too much to fix, including the creation and printing of new cards/mechanics).